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Lac La Hache artist Inspired by Nature in latest exhibit

Bonita Forsyth’s paintings are at Parkside Gallery this month
Artist Bonita Forsyth poses with her snow leopard painting. She said she had been reading about how rare they were and she could picture the painting in her mind, adding that it was quite fun to do. Forsyth has a show at Parkside Gallery from Feb. 24 to March 25. (Photo submitted)

Bonita Forsyth washes away her mistakes.

The artist said she was working on a painting inspired by a tree in their yard that had been struck by lightning.

“I was intrigued by all the markings and the way the lines of growth went and cracks in things,”

She added a cougar to the image. “It was interesting and I loved the colours and I even had offers from people who wanted to buy it.”

But she felt the need to work on it a little longer, eventually coming across a very sassy-looking cougar in a wildlife magazine that seemed to fit her vision.

So she carefully washed away the old cougar and began again.

As she leafed through an album of pieces she has worked on over the years, Forsyth stopped every now and then to explain a difficulty she had with one or another of the paintings.

“They’re not all perfect and sometimes they don’t even look good but I can see the finished product. So I know I can keep going with that and it’s going to work. But yes, I have those times when I like to wash it away.”

Her show, “Inspired by Nature” which is on display at Parkside Gallery from Feb. 24 to March 25, is partly inspired by life on Lac La Hache.

There are so many places and so much wildlife in the area, she said.

“I find with the fur, the shape the position of the animal and the look in the eye, you can kind of really capture the soul of the animal.”

Forsyth is fascinated by the herons. They look so awkward at first. She was standing on the beach in front of the house one night, not moving.

“This fellow didn’t see me and he landed on a piece of driftwood and I could actually see the moonlight coming through his wings. It was such a moment, I had to paint it.”

She loves the whole art of painting. “I can just go up into my studio, put on some music and grab my paintbrush and have my subject researched, position and habits sketched out,” she said.

“And then I just lose myself. It’s just very relaxing, meditative happy state of mind doing the pictures.”

She realized one day she had enough paintings around to do a solo show so she decided to give it a try after years of just doing it for joy or for friends.

She laughed as she said they were also running out of wall space.

Forsyth has also created a series of children’s fantasy books inspired by her artwork. She said the art inspires the stories much as real life inspires her art.

Nibbles is a tiny white mouse that re-occurs throughout her books. The original Nibbles is a mouse she and her son rescued from a fox in their backyard. They nursed it back to health over the winter releasing it back into the wild once spring came.

“I’ve never seen a white mouse in the wild like that,” she said.

She has also created a series of promotional TikTok videos promoting her children’s books with the help of her daughter-in-law Raven Gentry.

Parkside Gallery is currently closed after a vehicle crashed into the entryway last weekend. Call 250-395-2021 for opening date and hours.

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Fiona Grisswell

About the Author: Fiona Grisswell

I graduated from the Writing and New Media Program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George in 2004.
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